choose one topic of the following:
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- Explore the relationship between the interior and exterior worlds of the characters in these novels, and how that may relate to truth. You may choose to just focus on the bookSiddhartha, or you may compare/contrast Siddhartha with a character/characters from The Bridge of San Louis Rey.
- Thornton Wilder said that his purpose in writing The Bridge was to pose the question: “Is there a direction and meaning in lives beyond the individual’s own will?” This question could be applied to all three of the books we’ve read. Compare/contrast how two or all three of the books answer this question.
- In one group, we discussed the difference between selfless and selfish behavior. Explore these concepts and what they might reveal about truth and/or the search for truth. You could just look at the book Siddhartha or you could compare/contrast Siddhartha with something from The Bridge of San Louis Rey.
- The author Herman Hesse wrote that “without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.” Compare/contrast how the books Siddhartha and The Bridge of San Louis Rey might explore this “concept of humanity.”
- Explore the idea of “meaning” as it relates to Neruda’s Book of Questions, and what that might reveal about “truth.”
- Compare/ contrast the role of “love” in Siddhartha and in The Bridge of San Louis Rey. As love is such a broad concept, it will be necessary to narrow your topic down. For example, you might consider how both books explore parental love in particular ways, or how they explore sensual love, etc.
- Siddhartha tells Govinda that “in order to learn how to love the world [he had to] stop comparing it to some world I wished, I imagined, some kind of perfection I had made up. . . had to leave as it is and to love it and to enjoy being a part of it.” Consider how this attachment to an imagined perfection not only plays into Siddhartha’s early struggle, but also into a character or characters’ struggles in The Bridge of San Louis Rey. For example, you might consider the Abbess’s goal, perhaps, or the ideal theater audience (a heavenly audience) for which Uncle Pio and Camila played.
- Compare/ contrast the role of water within Siddhartha and The Book of Questions.
- Consider the role of suffering in Siddhartha and in The Bridge of San Louis Rey, and how suffering relates to a larger truth characters come to understand (you might also look at suffering in The Book of Questions)
- Take a look at the idea of “time.” What do different books bring to this subject? It may be most useful to track down passages which are thought-provoking, and work from there.
- Explore how teaching and learning relate to the search for truth. You may explore this in just Siddhartha, or you may compare/contrast it with The Bridge of San Louis Rey. For example, consider Camila’s experiences with being taught by Uncle Pio and her own disenchantment finally with the theater – with what she can/can’t learn there.
- Open topic. Choose something that is particularly interesting to you, and which you would like to explore in more depth. The key is to make your thesis specific rather than general. Then it will be easier to dig deeper and to back it up with relevant text from the books. You can choose to look closely at just one book (other than Wilder’s Bridge) or make connections between two or all three of the books.
GUIDELINES: 3 pages, double-spaced, total. No less. Use Times New Roman font, 12 pt. One- inch margins, with a title that reflects your essay’s subject. Be sure to provide evidence from the text that explains your reasoning. In other words, please use quotes from the book. All essays must follow MLA style for in-text citations, have the pages numbered, and be stapled.